As a kindergarten teacher, I have a unique opportunity to educate, share, engage, enhance and model ways that a variety of technological tools can help my students, their families and others make connections globally in regards to learning.
I have been blogging for four years now with 5- and 6-year-old children. I manage four blogs: a classroom blog, life science blog, summer blog and a WordPress blog where I reflect on my teaching. I am also in my third year of using Kidblog. This way my students are able to create and design their own blog posts in regards to what they are learning and exploring in kindergarten.
Blogging has been both inspirational and rewarding. My students, their families and others that we connect with make meaningful connections through our learning. Why blog with young children? How do I know it is making an impact? Here are some top reasons:
- Relationships: My students have strong relationships with each other and their families. My students are talking and showing their parents what we/they are blogging about almost daily. They are proud of their ideas and enjoy sharing with each other and the world. The relationships that we all develop with each other are safe and kind. They foster a sense of belonging and encourage us to take risks, and it is always in regards to what we are learning.
- Feedback: My students have daily opportunities to view any of our class blogs as well as their Kidblog. They get very excited when they read what others have to say. It is through the positive compliments and comments that my young bloggers begin to develop a sense of audience and the positive impact these comments have on their learning. They are engaged and interested in their post because it comes “alive;” it is highlighted and valued. All I have to do is email my parents and they post comments, not just on their child’s blog, but others too!
- Digital citizenship: My students and families understand that if we blog, that we never show our real name with our photograph because this is not safe. Everyone understands that in the beginning and I notice students reminding me and others when they are taking photographs of work. The other day one of my students wanted me to take a photograph of his writing. As I took the photo, he told me to “wait a minute.” I looked down and saw that he had used his finger to cover his name.
- Audience: My students really love looking at the map we have on our class blog and our Kidblogs. They are so amazed at how many different states and countries are looking at what we are blogging about. This idea is such an important one because it gives my students a sense of value and appreciation for their learning.
- Communicating: The great ideas about communicating are that you can choose to do as much as you want. Longer letters and emails are not examples of great communication. People are busy. I find my parents love the blog because it offers a variety of “snapshots” of our days together. It is a great way for parents, extended family to have conversations about kindergarten. Blogging is a great way to be informed and share what you are doing. You have a variety of options. Using video, photographs, creating polls, other useful information or even a place to post books of interest.
- Self-esteem: I have never had one of my students not want to blog or not share their blog. Blogging has had quite the opposite effect! My students want to share their blogs all the time. Even my most reluctant learners want to come up to the SMART board and interact and share their post. It is about them, and we all celebrate what they have to share. Afterwards each of my students has an opportunity to take questions and comments. This is a nice way for all my students to be leaders in their own discussion of what they feel is important.
These are just some of the many reasons I blog, and blog with my 5- and 6-year-old students. Blogging is a fun, easy and meaningful way to connect and build relationships. It offers endless opportunities for reflection as well as motivation for what we experience in regards to our learning.
Sharon E. Davison teaches kindergarten at Allen Brook School in Williston, Vt. She recently was recognized as a VT IGNITED Teacher, an award given to teachers who are transformative and innovative. Read her blog and follow her on Twitter @kkidsinvt.